You know what’s hard work? Convincing a potential employer that you’re great at your job when you’re a complete newbie. You know what’s even worse? A simple piece of paper—your resume—might be the only thing holding you back from a good job that you actually want.
Which makes you wonder if credentials and years of experience are really all that important. After all, doesn’t hard work, attitude, and a general interest in the job outweigh experience every now and then?
Sure it does. Just make sure your resume accomplishes the following goals.
1. Arrange your “Work History” section by relevance, not chronology. In other words, instead of listing your previous positions in order, only list the positions that your potential employers will find relevant to their needs. Will the new job require customer service skills? How about sales ability, pubic speaking experience, analytical skill, writing skill, or management experience? Find overlays between what you’ve done and what you’d like to do, and organize your work history around these overlays.
2. Make the best possible use of your summary section. Choose two skills or areas of experience that are vital to success in this new position—skills that you can easily prove you possess. For example, budget management and sales. Then use your summary section to emphasize your mastery of these two skills. Focusing on just these two will allow you to tell a simple, compelling story that readers will be more likely to remember.
3. Emphasize your transferable skills. Managers often make a hiring decision based on two simple factors: Experience and skills. Since you lack experience, your skills section will need to carry a little extra weight. Use this section to focus on skill sets that directly relate to the position and the employer’s company mission. Skip broad, generic skills like your ability to use basic office software, and give a low priority to personality-based skills, like your athletic victories. If this is a sales job, for example, emphasize your talent as a closer. If it’s a position in healthcare, food service, hospitality, or IT, stay focused on specific core competencies.
4. Meet your employer face to face, and request an interview. Make it know that you want to sit down and talk in person. If you can just manage to land an interview invitation, you’ll get your foot in the door. No matter what case you’re trying to make, it will be easier to make it in person….but your resume will have to be strong enough to get you there.
Keep your Resume Clear, Simple & Relevant
For some hiring managers, the resumes of career-shifters can be confusing. It can be difficult to read between the lines and figure out exactly how this candidate’s years selling clothing will make her an excellent veterinary technician.
Help your reviewers by drawing these lines for them. Keep your resume streamlined and simple, and tell a basic story focused on your future, not your past. Start with a visit to LiveCareer. Use the site’s Resume Builder and Cover Letter Builder for formatting help that can get your application the attention and respect it deserves.